Return to Toronto After a Year Hiatus


3/10/2016

12383440_1116422688381191_741432405_n.jpg

After a year hiatus, AMA Supercross this weekend returns to the Rogers Centre in downtown Toronto, Canada, for Round 10 (and Round 3 of 250SX East). Following a bit of maintenance last year that required skipping the storied dome, the racers and teams are looking forward to hitting the sole international round again. Always a unique event, the logistics required simply to get across the Canadian border (and back) is often a challenge. 

With so many international riders taking part in the series, things get a bit more interesting when crossing borders, and that's not considering bringing the team's transporters and support staff through customs. This typically leads to a "skeleton crew" for some of the teams, even renting smaller transporters or teams combining efforts to get across the border for the least amount of drama. We've already heard of at least one rider who may not make the trip due to visa problems (more on that below).

P_S_16_19_10945.JPG

First we will look at Daytona and where the results leave us in this season of racing. It was of course an intense night of action which saw Eli Tomac finally nail a win, while epic battles in the 250SX class saw Jeremy Martin also claim his first win. The track itself has been widely criticized despite the fact it was designed by Ricky Carmichael. With the track's location within the infield of the Speedway, there are, of course, various restrictions that limit the creativity that Carmichael could incorporate into the design. This year the many switchback corners developed one-line rut situations on the inside, which limited passing and slowed the pace considerably. While it was still an exciting and interesting track for spectators, the racers struggled with the inability to be creative in many of the sections. Carmichael, the track builders (including multi-time AMA National Champion Mark Barnett) and Daytona International Speedway are already looking at options for next year's course.

3_S_16_19_10497.JPG

It was clearly Eli Tomac's night in Florida last Saturday. He was fast and furious all day, winning his heat race in a convincing manner before getting ahead of Dungey off the start in the main and staying there to the checkers. Tomac was never any further back than first position for the entire event, and that's just what the doctor ordered for the slowly-developing superstar. Whether his success was due to the more outdoor motocross style of the track, or just because he got great starts, is open for debate. This is why Toronto will be a key race for Tomac to show he's finally on point with his fitness, his new bike and new team.

5_S_16_19_10593.JPG

Ryan Dungey did just what he had to do to keep his big points lead. He gained even more ground on Roczen and at this point is completely free to sit back and relax just a bit every weekend and still feel good about winning the title. While Roczen challenges with a win here and there, his inconsistency (typically thanks to poor starts and a very strong field of riders) has been his undoing. Dungey is the opposite: Great starts, the best speed and zero mistakes. We literally haven't seen a mistake yet this season from the champ, and when coupled with all of the other positives, that's a tough act to follow.

18_S_16_19_10740.JPG

Slowly working himself up to where many expect him to be, Davi Millsaps has been impressive in in his gains. Every weekend he's gotten better. In Daytona, he looked to be upwardly mobile, running fifth for much of the main event after qualifying sixth. While a crash dropped him way back in the pack by the finish, keep an eye on Millsaps, as he showed a flair in Daytona that hints at the great Millsaps of 2013, where he held the red plate (even with Villopoto, Dungey and Stewart in the mix) for over half the season and ended up second in the series. Unfortunately, his Daytona crash will keep him out of action for Toronto.

33_S_16_19_10595.JPG

Speaking of former greats and excellent performances in Daytona, let's cut to Josh Grant. The #33 made his return as a privateer at the season's most demanding track, which says a lot for his confidence level. By all accounts, Grant looked great out there, easily qualifying for the main through his heat race and moving forward for the entire 20 laps. Ending up an impressive seventh by the checkered flag, this put him ahead of factory-level riders who haven't missed a race all season! This performance is too good to ignore, so don't be surprised to see Grant back (and with a lot more "backing") in the very near future. It seems unlikely he'll make the trip to Toronto, though.

O_S_16_19_10390.JPG

The 250SX podium wasn't all that tough to predict, although how it arrived to it's result was spectacular. Jeremy Martin was more or less expected to win on this motocross-style Supercross track, and he did what needed to be done to make it happen. Justin Hill's ride for his first podium of the year was oh-so-close to a win, as he shadowed Martin for nearly the entire main event. Not far behind was Davalos, so a mistake by Martin at any point would have instantly put him back to third. 

M_S_16_19_11002.JPG

The battle between Martin and Malcolm Stewart truly was one for the ages, as they battled fiercely for over half of the main event. Martin proved to be very patient (despite Hill and Davalos breathing down his neck for much of the race), making zero mistakes and applying steady pressure on Stewart until he cracked, which allowed all three riders to get by. Martin has turned a page in his Supercross confidence book, so look for him to repeat in Toronto (which tends to be softer and more rutted than many other rounds).

49_S_16_19_11028.JPG

An unfortunate casualty of the international flair of Round 10 being in Canada, points leader Martin Davalos (himself an Ecuadoran passport holder operating in the U.S. on a work visa) is reportedly not going to be able to compete in Toronto. Don't look for Davalos on the line tomorrow night.

Round 10 of 2016 AMA Supercross again promises to be a great night of racing. Look for complete coverage on our Facebook page AMA Supercross Championship, Instagram @AMASupercross and AMASupercross.com for Live Timing & Scoring. If you're a SUPER Supercross fan, download our $0.99 smartphone app: "AMA SX" on iTunes and the Google Play store. TV schedules are available at Supercrossonline.com.


Recent News

All News
American Motorcyclist Association New Member Benefit Announcement